The New York Jets should consider drafting Iowa State RB Breece Hall in the second round
Running backs have never been as undervalued in the NFL as they are today. In 2012, nine running backs were making over $8 million annually. Despite the NFL’s cap ceiling nearly doubling from $120 million to $208 million over the past decade, only eight running backs are making over that amount now.
This is impacting the draft now as well. The last running back to be selected in the top 20 was Saquon Barkley back in 2018. Comparatively, five were selected in that range in the previous three drafts.
As we head into day two, Iowa State running back Breece Hall is still available. While the Jets already have Michael Carter, Hall may be too good to pass up.
Breece Hall is too good of a prospect to pass up
Breece Hall is a legitimate generational athlete at the running back position. His Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.96 is the fifth-highest among all running backs since 2003.
Hall has a rare combination of speed (4.39s 40-yard dash) and size (5′-11.5″ & 220 lbs) that allowed him to dominate in college. Here is how he compares to a future Hall of Fame running back (Adrian Peterson) and the NFL’s leading rusher in 2021 (Jonathan Taylor).
Over his last two seasons, Hall rushed for a staggering 3,044 yards while forcing 137 missed tackles. His ridiculous 30.3% forced missed tackle rate is even better than the mark posted by Michael Carter during his career at North Carolina (29.9%).
Only a handful of running backs in the NFL boasts such an elite combination of athleticism and production.
Iowa State running back Breece Hall (4.44u, 40" vertical @ 217 lbs) currently stands as 1 of 6 RBs since 2003 to earn an NGS overall score of a 99. The others:
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 5, 2022
The two-time team captain and All-American checks every box imaginable. Douglas will at least be tempted to select him if he is available when the Jets come onto the clock at No. 38.
I believe Hall is actually the best option at 38.
Why the Jets should select Breece Hall
The Jets already have a potential star running back in second-year man Michael Carter. Over a four-week midseason stretch, Carter was third in the NFL in scrimmage yards with 405. On the season he led the NFL in forced missed tackles per touch at 0.30.
So why would the Jets draft another running back so early?
Simply put, two are better than one.
With a tandem of Carter and Hall, the Jets would have one of the best and most elusive running back duos in the NFL. Behind a potential top 10 offensive line, the Jets would be able to dominate opposing defenses.
In 2021, quarterback Zach Wilson was routinely forced into third and long situations as the run game failed to establish itself. That wouldn’t be a problem with Carter and Hall in the backfield.
The improvement to the run game would also provide a huge benefit to the passing game. New York was one of the least effective teams on play-action plays last year. The threat either back poses would force teams to play for the run. More success on first downs would also allow the Jets to take more shots downfield.
The ultimate goal this offseason is to support Wilson. While the Jets have other glaring needs, there is arguably no other pick that could help Wilson more than Hall.
Will the Jets actually consider Breece Hall?
In Douglas’ last two drafts, he has routinely targeted talented athletes and high-character players. Hall possesses both qualities in spades.
However, Mike LaFleur‘s scheme doesn’t value running backs highly. In San Francisco, the 49ers continuously cycled through veterans and late draft picks over the past several years. In general, Douglas hasn’t valued them highly either. Douglas has drafted two running backs, both in the fourth round (Carter and La’Mical Perine).
With plenty of other holes to fill, the Jets will likely target different positions. Despite this, I implore the Jets to consider Hall. Even if Hall or Carter depart in three years, the immediate benefit to Wilson can’t be understated.